ISMENE SPEAKS


Eteocles and Polynices are dead.
Haemon and Eurydice are dead.
My sister escaped being buried alive
Only to become strange fruit.

 

May Thebes gather rotting figs and make
Bittersweet wine.  Antigone, I seek your name.

 

I told her that the dead really don’t so much mind
Vultures and dogs.  I pulled her close, whispered low
How a long life, well-lived, is revenge enough.

 

But any woman who tries to outdo a blindman in his blindness
Will never satisfy herself with dropping tears upon silt,
An open grave.  No matter, I still broke fool and tried to swallow
A lie.  For all my devotion, she wished me dead.

 

Piteous, her form. Flailing between earth and sky,
A statue in the dust. A woman wailing, striking her breasts.

 

Don’t lecture me.
About patriarchy, about kissing the rod.
About benevolent, white father figures.  

 

I know about all about uncles who rend your world
And grudgingly offer you needle and thread.